Missouri Bill Would Make Massage Licensure Voluntary

HB 659, recently introduced in the Missouri legislature, proposes to dramatically alter the state’s massage therapy law by stating that “nothing [within the massage therapy statute] shall require a person engaged in the practice of massage therapy to be licensed,” except that only someone who has obtained a license can call him or herself a “licensed massage therapist.”  Therefore, if the bill becomes law, no massage therapist in Missouri will be required to have license in order to practice massage, as long as the therapist does not call him or herself a “licensed massage therapist.”

ABMP strongly opposes HB 659.  Professional licensure is critical to ensuring entry-level standards of practice for the profession, and it protects the safety of the public by ensuring that therapists have received adequate training and that massage clients have an avenue to file complaints if necessary.  Only five states in the country have experimented with a voluntary licensing scheme.  Two of those (New Jersey and Wisconsin) have now switched to mandatory licensing, and two more (Indiana and Virginia) are considering a switch in 2013.  Voluntary licensing is confusing to clients and does not serve the profession or the public. 

ABMP opposes HB 659 and has contacted the sponsor and committee members. We will keep you informed of the status of the bill.

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